I received a scrappy piece of card in the post this morning (see above) which turned out to be a careful reply from none other than PM David Cameron!!! Oh, no wait, it wasn’t a careful reply. Actually, it wasn’t really a reply as it was clearly a generic ‘thank-you’ note sent to all of us underlings who take the time to write to ‘Dave’. Oh..and actually, it wasn’t from Dave, it was from…..what does that say? ‘J Miles’? Oh yes, J Miles. Him. Or her. I don’t know. Who is J Miles? Did he/she read my letter? Does he/she know what my ‘views’ are which he/she refers to? Well, whoever it was, needs to re-align their printer because the text came out all wonky-fied. And, it wasn’t even a real signature! If you’re going to print the signature, at least give me Dave’s so I can pretend he read my letter!!!
“Dear Mr. Cameron,
I am not usually the sort of person to put pen to paper to express my opinion to politicians (I tend to steer clear of the subject, in all honesty) but there is a matter about which I felt compelled to contact you.
My name is Hannah, I was born and raised in York. My family are and were all British, as far back as I can trace, and I am extremely proud of my heritage. I love England and I feel privileged to live in such a vibrant, beautiful, and free country. As well as being a proud Brit, I am also a proud Muslim (I converted to Islam two years ago) and I have to say, with all due respect, that I am disappointed with the lack of solidarity with British Muslims that Number 10 demonstrates. I was delighted with Baroness Warsi’s speech recently, which highlighted the negative impact of the reductionist attitude towards Muslims; identifying us as either ‘moderate’ or ‘extreme’. But her words are easily dismissed by the masses when you fail to back them up. I worry that Islamophobia is widely accepted across Britain.
Luckily, my experience as a Muslim has been mostly positive, being treated with courtesy and respect by members of the general public but I have to say, Mr. Cameron, that your silence on the issue suggests indifference in the matter. Recently, you announced that multiculturalism has failed, and talked in reference to ‘Islamists’, claiming that terror is born out of a feeling of feeling ‘rootless’ within British communities. To be frank, that speech alone made me, a British national, feel completely alienated, and abandoned by my government. The undertone of your speech was that being British and being Muslim are mutually exclusive. I felt you were suggesting that I must choose whether I am going to be British, or Muslim. In all honesty, this broke my heart! Today, I read about your speech to the Community Security Trust. I whole-heartedly agree with your absolute condemnation of anti-Semitism (although I have to say I must object to your support of Israel, considering they are currently breaking international law in their occupation of Palestine. I feel it’s not right for any leader to express favour towards any state which systematically ignores the requests of the international community, and the United Nations). I agree that it is not right for any religious group to feel attacked or oppressed by others in their community. But I wish that you would be as vocal about Islamophobia as you are about anti-Semitism. What about the Muslims who are discriminated against, subjected to harassment and abuse in their own homes and on the streets, who are subjected to unfair and unjustified security checks at airports and underground stations post-9/11 and 7/7??
I feel that the Muslim community deserves the same praise you offered the Jewish community. Take a quick look at the Muslim community, and you will see that we consider ourselves responsible for one and other as brothers and sisters (here and across the globe. You have seen a demonstration of that recently in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya), that we support our local community through Mosques and Islamic centres, we value the extended family which plays a vital role in childcare and education, our religion obliges us to regularly give money to charity, and to take care of our neighbours (whatever their beliefs). In fact, we fit perfectly into The Big Society ideology (which I give my full support to). You’ll also see that in many ways, we lighten the financial burden on the state: We are less likely to engage in binge-drinking, less likely to have unwanted pregnancies, and we are less likely to resort to state-funded care for our elders. Not to mention the outstanding contribution Muslim individuals make here in Britain as leading doctors and academics. Mr Cameron, I invite you to visit any Mosque or Muslim community in Britain (and, in London, you are spoilt for choice!) and see for yourself the people behind the religion. I absolutely guarantee that you will be greeted warmly and with an abundance of support and suggestions regarding The Big Society.
I sincerely hope to see, one day soon, a public display of solidarity with British Muslims and a recognition that we are not considered as ‘not quite British enough’ simply because of our faith. I thank you for taking time in your busy schedule to consider my thoughts and would thoroughly appreciate an acknowledgement of your reading of this letter, if you have time.
I give up.